One of the underappreciated rewards of running your own business is that you have the opportunity to develop talent… You can help your employees grow to become more effective and more valuable for you and for themselves.
The biggest companies in the world do this systematically. They ensure employee growth by building programs to train, educate, and support their employees. Big corporations also make training employees a key responsibility of leadership, and they will rate their leaders on how well they support employee growth.
And why do big companies put all this focus on employee development? Because it’s good business.
They’ve crunched the numbers and calculated that they perform better when they help their employees develop. They reap the rewards of the new skills their employees learn, and they retain employees who see their companies investing in them. Apparently, it also costs less to develop talent from within than it does to hire and train new talent from outside.
Smaller businesses can benefit from training employees just like the big guys. But, unfortunately, many smaller businesses neglect employee training and development, leaving it up to chance. This is simply a missed opportunity.
As a business owner, you have the opportunity to become a guiding influence in the lives of your employees. You can help your workers at all levels develop critical employment skills, so they can build better futures for themselves. And you get to benefit from their improved skills.
Helping your employees develop critical skills is simply in the best interest of your company. It helps with retention at all levels, it builds loyalty with your management, and it results in better performance from committed and invested employees.
As we talk to service industry companies across North America, a shortage of suitable labor is one of the biggest problems they face, and crew leaders, operations managers and other skilled positions can be equally hard to fill. And let’s face it, we usually don’t have problems retaining our worst employees. It’s the talented and ambitions ones, the ones we rely on to run our businesses, who will seek out new opportunities or be lured away by competing offers.
The best way to retain the talent that keeps your company running is for your employees to simply see continuing to work for you as their best potential for improving their lives. If you can achieve this, they will be self-motivated to stay, and retention becomes an afterthought.
Having a path to grow your team members from being line workers to becoming crew leaders to becoming part of your executive team also comes with great rewards for your business. If your managers know the jobs of their teams inside and out (because they once did them themselves), they’ll be better able to manage them effectively.
The visible potential for upward mobility can also promote loyalty by showing employees their pathway for success. If they can see a means for building a better life for themselves within your company, they’ll be more likely to stay and less likely to seek upward mobility somewhere else. And when your employees are invested in your business, they see your success as their own success and make decisions that will benefit your bottom line.
Leadership vs. The Alternative
As a leader of a service industry business, you have the opportunity to use employee training and leadership development as a way to differentiate yourself from other employers in your market… a way to ensure that you can retain the top-performing talent for your company.
And what is the best way to do this??? It’s by creating a “Learning Culture” in your company.
A Learning Culture
A company with a Learning Culture is a positive place to work, where employees are actively taught to be better workers and given opportunities to learn how to jump to the next level in their careers. A learning culture values consistency and repeatability and ensures it by teaching each individual their preferred ways to perform tasks, make decisions, and prioritize work.
More to come:
We’ve identified some techniques we recommend for establishing a learning culture in your company, and we’ll spend the next couple weeks expanding on some techniques we see as highly effective.
Our first tip… Implement a standardized training program for your line workers, as we illustrated in this post on employee training programs:
- Implement a standardized Employee Training Program for workers in your company.
Next time we’ll discuss how to adopt a consistent management philosophy like the Situational Leadership Model to empower your managers (and their employees) to perform and grow.
What are you doing to differentiate your company and make it a better place to work? Let us know in the comments.